From my experience it seems that the UK (or Londoners) have adopted a fairly energy efficient lifestyle. They use smaller fridges which use less energy, very small freezers, washer/tumble dryer combos which are basically useless so people tend to hang their clothes out and running water is set up on an ‘on demand’ system.
In Canada we had a giant water tank – okay giant to me – but the thing is easily 5 feet tall and 3 feet around and is always full of hot water, presumably it takes quite a bit of gas/electrical energy to keep a giant tank of water warm all the time in case someone needs 50 cubic feet of hot water in a hurry. The downside to this is that if you do happen to have a giant bath you have to wait for the tank to fill and heat again before having another.
Anyhoo the system here (in our flat at least) is that the water isn’t held in a reserve we just have an electric heater that heats the water up as you need it (by running it through molten lava or fire or something like that). But it works and it means that you only use a burst of energy when you need hot water and when you don’t, it sits idle.
For our shower that is located farther away from this heater thing they install a smaller version of the same heater that you turn on and off like your tap (except its a button which is way more fun). For the past year or so ours has been on the fritz (technical term) and has only been spewing out scalding hot water no matter which way you turn the dial. Last week we couldn’t take it any more as I honestly thought we were going to have physical burns on our skin.
Sooo..we headed off to the DYI store and bought ourselves a shiny new shower unit. Knowing we couldn’t install it ourselves we hired an electrician, luckily for us he was available the next day (yay recession) and so we booked him in. He tried in vain for 2 hours to get it set up then decided he needed help from his plumber friend whom he contacted and came over that same evening. The two of them fiddled for a while then announced they were done…. thoughts??
On the upside the water temperature is much better 🙂